The Edmonton Oilers “have made it clear they have no plans to go north of $7 million per year on a long-term extension” with pending UFA forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported Wednesday.
Seravalli also projected Nugent-Hopkins to be the top free agent on TSN’s list heading into the offseason.
There is no question fan (and team) favourite RNH wants to remain in Edmonton. But to this point, negotiations have gone in fits and starts, and the Oilers have made it clear they have no plans to go north of $7 million per year on a long-term extension.
It’s not exactly the kind of news Oilers fans are wanting to hear on the opening day of the 2020-21 season, but there’s a definite reality that the team has to face.
The former 1st round pick in the 2011 draft is coming off his first major contract that paid him $6-million a year for six years and it’s hard to say where the negotiations will go. One thing the Oilers will have to compete with is an open cheque book from the Seattle Kraken.
The Oilers are looking at a total of $24-million in room to work with this offseason, according to PuckPedia. Seattle, meanwhile, would have no issue being able to offer Nugent-Hopkins well over $7-million per year.
Back in December, Cam Lewis took a look at what Nugent-Hopkins’ next deal could look like and figured the Oilers could offer him an eight-year, $7-million deal AAV deal. I’m inclined to agree with him on that. At 27 years old he shows no signs of slowing down soon and an eight-year deal would take him to 36 years old.
While yes, there’s inherent risk involved with a player being signed to big-money through their mid-30’s, Nugent-Hopkins is one of those players that I think will continue to be a valuable player. Look, when he broke into the league he came in as a player who had to learn the defensive side of the game first.
Sure, he’s never struggled to really put up points, but he’s definitely exploded in terms of his production in the last three seasons scoring nearly a point per game. I think that production will continue into his 30’s and even so, he has a solid defensive base he can rely on in his later years.
Nonetheless, this is a storyline that isn’t going to be going anywhere this year.
On Twitter: @zjlaing